Polish Prosecutor Recognizes Guantanamo Prisoner as Victim in CIA Black Site Investigation

The Polish prosecutor’s office has granted Guantanamo prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri status as a victim in a pending criminal investigation into a CIA black site in Poland, following a complaint brought by lawyers working with the Open Society Justice Initiative. This is the first time a rendition victim’s claims have been acknowledged in an official investigation in Poland.

Al-Nashiri’s lawyers filed an application on September 21, 2010 requesting the investigation and prosecution of the individuals responsible for his transfer, detention, and torture on Polish soil. Al-Nashiri is the first victim of the CIA’s rendition program to pursue legal remedies in Poland. 

 “Poland has an opportunity to set an example for the other European countries complicit in the CIA’s illegal rendition program,” said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. “The details of these kidnappings and black sites must be brought to light, so that we can provide justice for the victims and prevent future abuse.”

 Public sources confirm that al-Nashiri was detained and tortured at a secret CIA site in Poland some time between 2002 and 2006, probably in Stare Kiejkuty in northeast Poland, not far from Szymany airport, which he was flown in and out of by CIA-contracted flights. The Polish prosecutor has been investigating the possible abuse of power by public officials in connection to CIA black sites since 2008.

“The prosecutor has clearly recognized the seriousness of al-Nashiri’s claims, and we hope he will continue to press forward with this investigation,” said Amrit Singh, senior legal officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative. “The individuals responsible for the torture and abuse endured by rendition victims on Polish soil must be held accountable.”

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